Friday, February 27, 2009

Life is Education, Ongoing.

Deep down we all hug something.  The great forest hugs its silence.  The sea and the air hug the spilled cries of sea birds.   
Emily Carr, "Klee Wyck."

Somebody has been busy in the woodshed.  When I brought in wood yesterday, I uncovered this cache of figs, perfectly dried.  They even smell good!  Somebody knows how to dry figs and to stash them in the cedar and eucalyptus wood. 

I am learning to use my camera.  Today I went out to the garden with the settings on something different than the usual "A" for automatic-camera-does-all-the-figuring.  I am not interested in fiddling much with the images.  As I told my son this evening, I am "old school" in that I do the composition in the view finder.  Really, I do my best work with black and white.  The digital is certainly a leap into techno-reality that I hadn't considered doing.  Of course to him, "old school" means long boards or something. 

This is an embarrassing story:  we were in the car, parents in the front, boys in the back, maybe a girl in there, too(this when the boys were...11 & 13? approx ten years ago).  I was driving, paying some attention to the S. Fitch Mountain road, because it could be treacherous or I might run over a squirrel, when I heard a snippet of conversation from the back seat, "I like cranberries..."  YOU DO????  I practically yelled, and went into a discourse on how excited I was because cranberries are REALLY good for you, and and and...  "It's a band, Mom."

Isn't this gorgeous?  Borage.  Beautiful Borage, blooming in the late afternoon light.  Mmm. This may be my favorite blue, today.  The sky was blue, but not this blue.  This will hold me over until Morning Glory Blue.

Lucinda Williams sings one of my favorite blue songs, "Am I too Blue for You?"

Luna's whole name is Bloo Luna.

Nighty night.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Chamomile turns her face

One day I walked upon a strip of land that belonged to nothing.      
from "Klee Wyck," by Emily CarrChamomile

turns her face to the sun
center of this solar universe
she turns to life and light
dances through vineyard

white petals, yellow center
glad colors with new green
pushes a song of calm
spring caught quickly

Chamomile is the first
to blink bright scent
before riots of mustard
or vineyard clean-up

gentle morning, Chamomile looks
East, expects the rising sun
opens her face, shows
her yellow optimism

young love, tender and untested
offered up to the altar
of forever, Chamomile
braided into long, sunlit hair

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Cleaning Off My Desk... pleasehelpmeee,I'mfalliiiing....

Our mind is meant for comforting us, not for tormenting us... Rev. Chris Micheals
So the obvious is:  think airborne!  Think fun!  Think yaaaah-hooooo!

And Thank Goodness Laura does NOT photograph her writing desk, area, or even the room! On the other hand, perhaps I could do exactly that, and embarrass myself into cleaning it all up immediately!

Maybe later I will post a gorgeous photo of my neat and tidy study & write & publish area.  For now, I go forth with enthusiasm.  He he he.

Thanks for all your prayers.


Sunday, February 22, 2009


Imagine being a beetle looking for a plant under which to burrow, or a Western Blue Bird looking for a flying bug, OR imagine drinking wine made from grapes grown in this arid, sterile environment.  Mmmmm.  Good?  Imagine Bacchus celebrating the harvest, or even the trimming of the vine, here at this corner of parched-earth.

Further up the very same road, lives this vineyard.  Old Vines thriving in a jungle of Life! Mustard blooming with Fava, peas, oats, vetch, all creating a beautiful tangle of nutrition and energy for the grape vines.  None of these vines are marked with plastic tape for destruction because of the dreaded root mite.  Nothing is sprayed, not even the roadside.  This is an organic vineyard, farmed with sustainability practices.  Even the seasonal creek on this ranch is being restored to its wildness.

Let me add, the vineyards on this ranch are beautiful.  There are Blue Birds, wood peckers, ravens, crows, sparrows, wild ducks and geese, bugs, plants, deer, and more, living and supporting one another.  And I know, from experience; the wine that comes from this verdant collaboration is sublime.

I have been "off" my computer, radio, TV, magazines, books and most-any-reading material since Monday of last week.  My Goodness!  What perils awaited me when I let go of that batch of distractions!  Yes.  Quite quickly I went slightly berserk:  wildly creative, massively emotional.  Even went to cleaning, which for me is usually last-last-last resort.

An amazing awareness is coming from this experience, namely that I read everything within 47 miles of me, and that I waste some (he he he) time with this activity.  By practicing the "word deprivation" for these days, I have noticed that when I focus on the task/person at hand, my attention is much more clear.  Much.

Which ever so gently brings one to... what we put our attention upon, flourishes.  My intention was to paint the lemons, and the painting veered to Chartres Cathedral and the Beautiful Madonna within, where I experienced an earth-affirming, feminine epiphany.  Whether or not She makes it as an image known and recognised in the painting, She informs, guides and celebrates through my creative activity.

And the rain continues to fall and to heal.  All Is Well.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Monday, February 16, 2009

I Love the Rain!

In a dark time, the eye begins to see.  Theodore RoethkeLeaning over the fresh, rain filled ditch, the movement is quick, the sound gurgles; so busy.

Already the pair of Mallards have found the new pond.  Ah yes, a swim in the vineya'd, dawlin'!

Mmmm, I am in love with all things wet!

And I hear that more is on the way, and that our S.Californian friends may wash off the edge of the continent.  Hopefully not.  Good news to see our little river rushing, the pussy willows furring up, and the ravens doing whoop-dee-doos, in pairs!

Okay, here is the challenge of the week, ala "The Artist's Way"... reading deprivation!  Eeek! This caused a riot among us!  What about checking my email, for business, of course!  I was thinking, O NO!  What will Facebook do without moi?  My Bloggess!  Now what?

First off, I have charged up the camera battery.  It occurred to me that I can, for a week, post only images.  Some one this morning offered, "You can write, just don't read it!"  I have a painting started (O, I love red!), I just began a new sketch book, there are huge puddles around in which to splash with Luna, there are grandkidlets to embrace, already I have a big pot of bubbling chai.  Ms. Cameron suggests: repot some plants, write to old friends, sort closets, wash the dog, make curtains, LISTEN to music, knit(he he he... she knows not to whom she speaks!), watercolor, work out, meditate...  you know, get INto my life!

This is the time.  This is right where I am.  This is IT!

Here is one line from this chapter, entitled "Recovering a Sense of Integrity": " my experience, I had many times wriggled out of reading for a week due to procrastination.  As blocked creatives, we can be very creative at wriggling out of things.  ...the nasty bottom line is this: sooner or later, if your are not reading, you will run out of work and be forced to play."

Think of the freedom on this horizon.  Is email really connecting me to my loved ones?  Is Facebook real?  Can one text the Goddess?  The answer is, YES.  Yes to all of the questions. And so much more.  There are times when my beloved computer sucks hours out of my day, especially when I am reading fabulous blogs, or visiting the Elephant Sanctuary, or funniest dog videos.

So this will be interesting.  Yep.  No reading.  Shudder, this feels like how I feel when I am headed into a "Silent Retreat" which amounts to abject terror.   Calm down, it isn't that bad.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues.  Duke Ellington

So grateful for the rain; busy praying up more more more

to find myself wanting wanting wanting more color

to notice it is right here here here.  Already.

"The Artist's Way," by Julia Cameron, is a stupefyingly great book written, ahem, or at least published, in 1992.  Last week I was devastated by the reading and my own writing.  What came up was old and musty, having spent quite a long time in the proverbial attic of my mind. Shocked by a very active CrazyMaker, I thought that I needed to sign quickly up for a psychic surgery of some kind.  Please, help me get this out!  away!  banned for good!  The next day, as I grumbled through at least 2 and 1/2 of the 3 Morning Pages, it suddenly dawned upon me that MY CrazyMaker is actually a very helpful and willing part of me!  Who else shows up, unbidden to proclaim, "Ha!  So what?!  You're screwed!!!"

And here are 4 Rules of the Road:
  • Show up at the page.  USE the page to rest, to dream, to try.
  • Fill the well by caring for my artist.
  • Set small and gentle goals and meet them.
  • Pray for guidance, courage and humility.
In the reading today I discovered this gem: ...this surge of sudden disinterest ("It doesn't matter") is a routine coping device employed to deny pain and ward off vulnerability. Hmmm, isn't that interesting!  I may need to apologise to my innocent self from about 50 years ago 'til now!  All that tough-stuff is so confusing! thinking that 'vulnerable' meant investing in Surrender Flags!   

Hee hee hee!  That is precisely what it means!

So I am willing to surrender to lemon yellow, orange orange, drops of rain poised to drop to the green green grass below.  I surrender to forgiving, to adventure, to tears, to transparency, to Loving This!  

And I leave you with this wonderful Mae West-ism:  Whenever I have to choose between two evils, I always like to try the one I haven't tried before.  

Yeah!  I surrender to that, too!


Monday, February 9, 2009

Does That Have Calcium In It?

A new cast, with bling, makes for happily growing bones.Luna is a good student!  Let's sit, and pose, and smile!
It's difficult to take a picture of just the cast when your student is so front and center.
And they have fun, no matter.  These two are made for one another.

Mary is learning how to cook.  We made a Boston Cream Pie, following Martha's recipe.  Mary helped with the filling, "This is just like when we made gravy!"  Luna licked the bowls. OMiGoddess, this dessert may be a once-in-a-lifetime thing, as it is rather calorie laden. Calcium rich, though.  Right?  Eggs, milk, cream, butter... some flour and sugar.  Oh, there is calcium in chocolate, too.

Yes, we are on our way to flunking Nutrition 101, but we are going down smiling.

Mary likes to work to keep our planet healthy.  She likes to eat well, no junk food.  She is very fun to have spend an hour or a day or an overnight, we always laugh lots.  She has gotten used to me saying, "Wait, I have to get my camera!"  

"I know, Nonnie.  The Blog."

I love you, Mary!


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Recovering Crazymaker

"No matter how slow the film, Spirit always stands still long enough for the photographer It has chosen."  Minor White
Fabulous!  It is raining, not quite cats and dogs, but close.  The sky is grey, and I am enjoying the birdsounds and water dripping.  The fire is warm, and Luna is rolled up in a ball in her quilt.  She played with Tahoe(grandGoldenRetriever) earlier and they got soaking wet, which is good by dog-standards, but Luna has short-short hair and only one coat of it.  She gets cold where no Golden Retriever or Labbie ever even cares.

My Morning Pages stirred up the pot.  Shocking to see my own soup: enter the Crazymaker. Paraphrased: The Crazymaker 
  • expects special treatment
  • discounts my own reality
  • spends my time & money
  • triangulates those they(I) deal with
  • am an excellent 'blamer'
  • creates drama--seldom where it belongs
  • hates schedules
  • hates order
  • denies that I (eye) am a crazymaker
Now Julia Cameron and God, do not expect me to hang out here.  Nor do I expect this of myself. And this obviously has come at a time where I am strong enough to see myself with some clarity.  I found myself slightly beside myself, squirming with disbelief.  Being somewhat familiar with the proverbial self-bashing, and not wanting to go that route, I have decided to be calm.  Let this be for now.  

This is good work for short days, warm fires, and a journal that can hold itself together.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Growing Awareness, Accepting Good

Peeking out beyond the shell, out of the pit!
Avacado seed, root, sprout, vase and sunlight resting on the kitchen window sill with metal birds.

Recently I have been "doing" Julia Cameron's "Artist's Way."  The important tasks to do are "morning pages" and "the artist's date."  Yeah, yeah.  Writing 3 pages longhand is easy, I am the talkative type.  Taking me without anyone else somewhere is a formidable task.  Is the dog allowed?  

Soooo, I had a hair cut scheduled for today.  And I slipped in a little date with myself.  In my pages this morning I did note; taking a famous artist/author out on a date will be tons of fun. Me, myself and I, had a great time.  We went to an antique store, found a gorgeous brass bed from Spain for a mere $14,500 and then went on to the bookstores and my favorite fabric store. I bought three books, well, one is a magazine, and felt my favorite bolt of silk.  I hurried past at least four good smelling restaurants, and looked at some really awful artwork.  

Hopefully that qualifies for the first of many artist's dates.  The point is to nurture, to plant seeds, to inspire and to acknowledge; myself as artist, as author.  "As artists, we must learn to be self-nourishing.  We must become alert enough to consciously replenish our creative resources as we draw on them... I call this process filling the well." Julia Cameron.


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